Patriots will join military veterans Saturday for the annual Wounded Warriors the Hamptons to honor Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, a Sag Harbor native who died in Iraq, and to raise money for wounded soldiers.
Now in its fourth year on the South Fork, the event includes a 30 to 60 mile bicycle ride ending in Amagansett and a 4.5 mile walk over LCpl Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge in Sag Harbor. A free BBQ party will be held for all registrants following the ride.
"You feel the honor…it's a feel good weekend," said Haerter's mother JoAnn Lyles. "You know you're doing good by raising funds for the project, supporting the wounded not just physically but mentally."
Her son was killed in action April 22, 2008 in Iraq at the age of 19. He died a hero, saving the lives of 33 fellow Marines and Iraqi policemen when he and Corporal Jonathan Yale opened fire on a car bomber entering their base.
Soldier Ride is a national rehabilitative cycling event to help wounded military in the recovery process and engage the community in honoring local heros. Last year over 1,200 military and civilians supported Soldier Ride Hamptons in some way.
Lyles is also one of the organizers of the event, which local business support, from food and equipment donations to setting up performances.
The bicycle event begins with rider registration at the in Amagansett at 7:45 a.m. The ride begins at 9 a.m.
Riders of the 30-mile trip will bike to Sag Harbor and back along Montauk Highway and then Route 114, and those completing the 60-mile trip will continue into Montauk.
Walk registration starts in Sag Harbor at 7:45 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. Walkers will enjoy live music from Keyboard Charles while they walk the bridge and welcome riders.
Citizens can ride and walk alongside former military, while others will show their support along the path with signs, cheers and refreshments.
Those who aren't riding or walking can still play an important role that is both inspiring and fun. It's free to participate as a spectator, and there are several contests held for the most patriotic.
"It feels good to be there on the sidewalk with a sign or American flag," Lyles said. "Marines that participated the first year still talk about it."
Riders and walkers can register by visiting the event website. The cost is $50 to ride and $25 to walk. Spectators can join the BBQ for an entrance fee of $10.
A complete schedule will be listed on East Hampton Patch for the weekend.